I wish I lived in a hiding place, all of the time.
Each morning – well, each morning that sees me travel from bed to office, missing breakfast on the way – I escape the buzzing monotony of rush-hour traffic and bustling commuters by sidestepping the main streets between front door and tube station to stroll through a park; here, my pace lessens and the sun says hello, peeking out from under cloud and over tree-top. This is my temporary hiding place: a few hundred yards of solitude, an enclave of contemplation. And now I’ve the perfect soundtrack to these few moments, snatched from under the nose of a day’s frustration and bother.
Piano Solos Vol. 2 is literally what its title says it is: a collection of piano solos, performed with an acute tenderness by Dustin O’Halloran, fifty per cent of US-born but Italy-based duo Devics. When heard through headphones, it’s music to slow a step to a crawl, to have the eyes finding a previously unseen splendour in something so everyday you’ve only ever overlooked it before now. It’s music that has the day’s star shining that little bit brighter; music that could, if amplified across the park, have pigeons dancing across the brilliant blue sky in perfect slow-motion synchronicity. A ballet set to a score to melt an ice queen’s heart.
When played aloud, in an office environment, expect a hush to spread from body to body. The chatterbox – the one that spends most of their time by the water-cooler, spilling banality like carbon dioxide: they, too, will fall silent. Everyone will take a moment; each moment will be different, although the music filling the room is the work of only one artist. It could be anyone, as names don’t matter; when music’s as universal as this, indie one-upmanship is a faraway concept.
Dissecting these eleven opuses – so pure and so simple and so beautiful that they can’t not affect even the toughest soul of leather and wire – is tantamount to committing a gross disservice: there’s no need to explain, in critical prose, the plusses and minuses of an album that is entirely one-dimensional on paper, but that can paint a million different pictures in the mind’s eye with each excursion into its familiar and comforting confines.
Find your own little corner of the world, your hiding place. Take this with you. And think, reflect, assess, and conclude, properly, for the first time in what might be months. Believe me: it’ll make re-entry to the Real World a whole lot less painful.
8Mike Diver's Score